I see it feelingly
I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou squiny
at me? No, do thy worst, blind Cupid! I’ll not
love. Read thou this challenge; mark but the
penning of it.
Were all the letters suns, I could not see one.
O, ho, are you there with me? No eyes in your
head, nor no money in your purse? Your eyes are in
a heavy case, your purse in a light; yet you see how
this world goes.
I see it feelingly.
I had an engaging conversation about dance styles with my boyfriend. He’s very fond of Anna Halprin and passionate about all things dance. He’s really intrigued by modern contemporary dance styles and improvisation. I’ve always found these styles a little unusual and discussions between us regarding them are often dense with misunderstanding. For me, as an “outsider” to the dance world, I view the classical styles of ballet and such to be beautiful.
He finds ballet restricting and unalterable. He thinks it frustrating that an individual must fall within certain lines and forms to do ballet because it limits the expansion of the individual.
Interestingly enough, I saw a mixture of modern contemporary performances in Norway last year and remember feeling quite puzzled. Many of the performances were not what I considered to be “dance.” I also felt that what the dancers were doing did not cause me to think of them as a dancer. I left thinking if that is dance, then I don’t need any training. In fact, I perhaps egotistically thought that there was no talent involved in this form of dance.
Additionally, I laughed when I saw this because in a way I couldn’t have agreed more.
But, what exactly is dance? Is it the shoes, clothes, music and visual expression that create a “real” dancer? Or all these merely the false illusion of the ornate?
I, myself, am tied up in my own restrictions with my ashtanga practice. My desire for it to be something that is graceful often causes me much angst as I believe many times that it is not what I deem it to be. By defining my world from what I perceive the majority’s perspective to be, I have accordingly fought an awkward battle within myself. Yet, I often rebel against myself and try to change my own rigid definitions. I sometimes practice on moondays and sometimes not at all. I don’t always practice everything and I usually practice on Saturdays. There isn’t anyone condemning me but me and I often kill the joy of yoga.
Out of a desire for my practice to look a certain way, I often completely disconnect from my body, limiting it to the definitions of what I’ve perceived a beautiful practice to be. More often than not, my concept of an exquisite practice has been what I’ve seen others produce. Basically, I’m comparing myself and by comparing myself, I’m never satisfied with myself.
Interestingly enough, its the odd, somewhat haphazard movements that I’ve seen with improvisational dancers that causes me to see it as unorganized, unrefined, and something that lacks talent. My boyfriend has praised Anna Halprin for her courage to try something new and her fearless approach. This raised the question: if dance can only be what is considered traditional and aesthetically beautiful by popular view? Is it only everyone moving in the same way?
I guess its like asking if a dancer necessarily needs music to dance, 0r if eyes are necessary to see.
After we spoke, I watched a dance movie and was compelled to do my yoga practice, on a Saturday, at 1 pm. After finishing sun salutations, my jaw was already knotted up. In an effort to try something new and not see what my false eyes have often led me to believe, I practiced with my eyes closed. Yes, this was a little strange and quite fearful at certain moments – especially during the transitions, but I found myself feeling myself so much more. The practice proved to be deeper and I was far less distracted.
Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to saying that I’d do this everyday, but I did feel my body more through the experience. Additionally, I was less judgmental about the way I looked doing things as I had to focus on the weight of my hands, the pressure through my fingers, and the ground through my feet or hips. I was more aware of my driste, as I saw it behind closed lids.
It seems all these unique and thought provoking conversations with my boyfriend about dance are quite useful in the inner expansion of my yoga and personal journey. For those who are cynical of self-analysis, sometimes it is easier to just take things at face value or for their superficial beauty, but my life has become so much richer through feeling, even if it is out of the lines and uncomfortable.